October 2015 – Health

We came to our October 30th meeting ready to drill down into health.

IMG_7244adjThis is a topic which is relevant to every person and organization in Clay County. How healthy we are can depend on our genetics, the situations we find ourselves in, and also the choices we make. For example, the indoor air we breathe is usually less healthy than outdoor air. Are we nurturing interpersonal relationships to provide us support when we need it? A positive outlook can result in better health and reduce stress. And of course being active and making good nutritional choices are prescriptions for better health.

Karen lead the discussion by noting several health studies and reports that have been recently released which provide information and suggestions for how to move from data to action. Everyone is encouraged to check them out. Each contains information that you may be able to share with others who weren’t at the meeting.

1) The 2015 County Health Rankings report prepared in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute can be found at:

http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/florida/2015/overview The report notes factors that contribute to our health which include: our physical environment, social and economic factors, clinical care, and health behaviors. In terms of health outcomes Clay County is ranked #11 out of Florida’s 67 counties. Our neighbors ranked – St. Johns #1, Nassau #24, Duval #43, and Baker #62.

2) This diversity in rankings in northeast Florida caught the attention of the Clinton Foundation and we are now one of a few areas in the U.S. that the group is working with. Among the questions being explored are there best practices or approaches that we can share within our region so that health outcomes can be improved for all counties? The report can be found here: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/our-work/clinton-health-matters-initiative/programs/northeast-florida

3) The Florida Department of Health Clay and the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida just released a comprehensive county-wide health needs assessment. The report provides data to educate the community, develop priorities, obtain resources, and plan actions to improve health outcomes in Clay County. The report can be found here: http://clay.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/community-health-planning-and-statistics/_documents/clay-county-2015%20-community-health-assessment.pdf

The report is a living document and will serve as the basis for discussion and actions over the next 5 years, but more on that later in the notes.

During our roundtable discussion many health related topics, concerns, and resources were discussed. One of the overarching topics which came up multiple times was finding ways to improve health literacy.

IMG_7239Stephanie at St. Leo University has students who utilize healthcare services. Also she is looking for internships for students in their health care program in areas like health information services.

Judy representing NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) noted how difficult it can be for those with mental illness to get health care.

Frances from Mercy Support Services brought up the need to help those without insurance to get prescriptions. There is the St. Vincent’s Van and the Way Free Medical clinic, but not all those in need can avail themselves of these services. Transportation is one impediment.

Emily from the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida noted that from report 3) above, the top 3 issues that will be focused on for the next 5 years will be mental health, health care access, and health lifestyle / behaviors. Before the end of 2015 the CHIP (Clay County Health Improvement Planning) group will convene and form subgroups of people who are interested in working on making improvements in these 3 areas.

Leigh from the Florida Department of Health / Clay reminded us that this time of year ways to remain healthy include staying prepared for a disaster and getting our flu shots.

IMG_7243adjRalph asked us if we knew anyone who had suffered from an adverse drug reaction. He represents medXPRIME a company which does pharmacogenetic testing, A simple test gives a doctor your specific DNA profile so that you get the medication that works best for you. Adverse drug reactions put 2 million people in the hospital each year.

Jose wears two hats – he’s the Accreditation & Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Florida Department of Health / Clay as well as on the Advisory Board for Tobacco Free. Reducing tobacco use behaviors would certainly improve health outcomes in Clay County.

Mitzi of Community Hospice reinforced that health education is one of our biggest challenges. She noted that we should be on the lookout for a conference in March ‘Caring For the Care Giver’.

IMG_7242adjSamantha found that with ILRC (Independent Living Resource Center) one of their biggest challenges is reaching people in remote areas.

Doug of the Clay County Literacy Coalition reiterated the importance of focusing on health literacy, not only for his clients, but for all residents within Clay County.

Faye shared with us a program that may be of interest to nonprofits in Clay County called MyDonors and can be found at mydonors.info. It enables an organization to track its donors, promotional mailings, orders and products, and communication sent to donors.

Linda of Miriam’s Basket is a nonprofit which provides children who have been taken from their home with 5 sets of clothes and underwear, plus shoes, coats, pajamas and an age appropriate gift. They have now provided support to over 1,000 children and all through donations with no outside support. David would like to see the organization grow to provide similar support to children in schools.

Patrick head of Mercy Support Services is an organization which works with displaced families in Clay County. One of their challenges is preparing for upcoming changes in Clay County as we grow. Teaching families how to make better decisions relative to their health is a priority for them.

IMG_7248adjIrene head of Kids First of Florida told us that they are facing increasing demands as the number of kids in their care has doubled in the last 2 years, in large part due to substance abuse by adults. She is also charged with Clay Behavioral which provides services to 5,000 people per year.

Cindy oversees the nurses in the Florida Department of Health / Clay. Some of the nurses serve as consultants / advisors to the school nurses. Others serve the uninsured, Medicaid, and underinsured patients. She too feels that health literacy is something we must tackle. She mentioned that community specialists that serve as volunteers are going away and we must find ways to fill these needs.

Anna is a healthiest weight coach in the Florida Department of Health / Clay and noted that transportation is a big issue for her clients. They don’t attend regularly because they can’t get to the sessions.

IMG_7247adjSandy is on the Library Board of Trustees and is very committed to having our libraries in Clay become centers of information for many of the topics that Shaping Clay is working on. She mentioned that most people find libraries as safe havens and are more likely to come to them for information. For example, the St. Vincent’s van could stop at the libraries.

Gary from the Vietnam Veterans of Clay County is an organization with 130 members. He reminded us that Veterans Day is coming up on November 11. He also shared with us a brick adoption program to raise funds to build a permanent Clay County Fallen Warriors Monument to honor all past, current, and future in-theater casualties of military war.

IMG_7245adjJoseph is actively serving in the Navy based in Mayport, is a student at Saint Leo University, and attends most of the Shaping Clay meetings. He’ll be finished with his active service in the summer of 2016 and is already looking for ways to contribute to organizations within Clay County.

Carolyn from the American Cancer Society told us about some of their programs. The Road To Recovery provides transportation and group participants were interested in finding out more about the parameters for having patients use the transportation. She also mentioned the Look Good Feel Better program which helps women going through cancer treatments with wigs and makeup and their Relay For Life event.

The topic of dental care was also brought up. Catrine let us know that the Fleming Island Rotary Club and the Dental Society are providing free dental care in a dental clinic. Patients can’t make appointments and names of those needing care are drawn by lottery.

Someone thought that veterans could get a flu shot for free from Walgreens.

Everyone reading these notes, whether you attended the meeting or not, are encouraged to contact participants for any of the topics that you’d like to learn more about. The notes are distributed to encourage contact, communication, and collaboration within Clay County.